Why is Herpes Curable? A Comprehensive Guide

Genital Herpes is an STD caused by two types of virus: HSV-1 & HSV-2 which causes cold sores & fever blisters around mouth & genitals respectively.

Why is Herpes Curable? A Comprehensive Guide

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by two types of virus: the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is often responsible for oral herpes, which can cause cold sores or fever blisters in or around the mouth. However, most people with oral herpes don't have any symptoms. It's also possible to get genital herpes from a sexual partner who doesn't have a visible sore or who isn't aware of your infection.

You won't get herpes from toilets, bedding, or swimming pools. Nor will you get infected by touching objects, such as cutlery, soap or towels. Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms may go unnoticed or may be confused with other skin conditions, such as a pimple or ingrown hair.

Because of this, most people don't know that they have a herpes infection. Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth. This is known as having an “flare-up”. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal.

Flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, headache, muscle aches) may also occur. Symptoms of STDs may include an unusual sore, a foul-smelling genital discharge, burning when you urinate, or bleeding between periods (if you have a menstrual cycle). Your healthcare provider can diagnose genital herpes simply by looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample of the sore(s) and analyze it.

If there are no sores, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies. Talk honestly and openly with your healthcare provider about testing for herpes and other STDs. The only way to completely avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Keep in mind that not all herpes sores appear in areas that a condom can cover.

In addition, the skin can release the virus (excrete it) in areas that don't have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you against herpes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes yet. However, there are medications that can prevent or shorten outbreaks.

A daily anti-herpetic medication may reduce your chances of transmitting the infection to your sexual partner(s). Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be serious in people with weakened immune systems. If you touch the sores or the fluids from the sores, you can transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Don't touch sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of the body.

If you touch sores or liquids, wash your hands thoroughly quickly to avoid spreading the infection. If you are pregnant, there may be problems for you and your fetus or newborn baby. How can genital herpes affect my baby? for information on this. If you're pregnant and have genital herpes, antenatal care visits are very important.

Some research suggests that a genital herpes infection can cause a miscarriage or increase the chance that a baby will be born too soon. You can transmit herpes to an unborn fetus, but it most commonly happens during delivery. This can cause a fatal infection in the baby (called neonatal herpes). It's important to avoid getting genital herpes during pregnancy.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a diagnosis or symptoms of genital herpes. Also inform him about any possible exposure to genital herpes. If you have genital herpes, you may need to take antiherpetic medicines toward the end of your pregnancy. This medication may reduce the risk of developing signs or symptoms of genital herpes when you give birth.

At the time of delivery, your healthcare provider should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes at the time of delivery, a “C-section” is likely to occur. If you have herpes, you should talk to your sexual partner(s) about your risk. Using condoms can help reduce this risk, but it won't completely eliminate it.

Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you don't have any symptoms, you can still infect your sexual partners. You may be concerned about how genital herpes will affect your health, sex life, and relationships. Although there is no cure for genital herpes yet, it's important to know that it can be controlled with medications like daily suppressive therapy (i.e., taking antiviral medications daily).

Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options. A diagnosis of genital herpes can affect how you'll feel about current or future sexual relationships. It's important to know how to talk to your sexual partners about STDs and how to protect yourself from getting infected again in the future. Having HIV and genital herpes increases the chance of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner during oral, vaginal, or anal sex because HIV attacks immune cells so they can enter the body and because having genital herpes increases the number of immune cells in the lining of the genitals. You can add this content to your website by distributing detailed fact sheets intended for doctors and people with specific questions about sexually transmitted diseases. The detailed fact sheets include specific recommendations for tests and treatments as well as citations so that readers can investigate topics in more depth.